Dads star Giovanni Ribisi is firing back at critics of the new Fox comedy.
Before the series premiered on September 17, media watchdog group Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) said the show is racist. The pilot episode featured a character making a reference to “Orientals,” and there were several jokes made at the expense of the Chinese. MANAA founder Guy Aoki sent a letter to Fox demanding the scenes be reshot. The show was also called “sexist” and “crass.”
Fox refused to do the reshoots, calling the show “evocative” and saying it will “poke fun at stereotypes and bigotries – sometimes through over-the-top, ridiculous situations.”
Giovanni Ribisi, who plays Warner Whittemore, told Chelsea Handler he wasn’t sure about joining the series but finally agreed and called it a “privilege” to work with Seth MacFarlane. He also said he couldn’t agree with the Chelsea Lately host more about the offensive jokes being really funny.
“As much as they’re ringing their bell about being offensive and all of that, the same people are laughing just as hard,” he said. Handler asked what it was that people found offensive, to which Ribisi replied, “It’s kind of like, what isn’t offensive about it? Honestly, we’re all at the point where we just go, ‘Just go f**k yourself.'”
Dads premiered to 5.76 million viewers, but viewership for the second episode dropped to 3.65 million. Critics panned the series, with Metacritic giving it a 15 out of 100 based on 25 reviews. The series also has a rare 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where it is described as, “A near-total disaster, Dads makes the fatal mistake of believing its racist gags can lend an edge to its aggressively predictable writing and unlikable characters.”
In addition to Giovanni Ribisi, Dads also stars Seth Green as Eli, Warner’s business partner, Martin Mull as Eli’s father, David, and Peter Riegert as Warner’s father, Crawford. Vanessa Lachey also stars in her first TV lead role as Warner’s wife, Camilla.